A'zwa or "battle chant" is celebrated as an Omani tradition in several towns within the Sultanate of Oman. This year, I was able to be part of the ceremony that took place on the fourth day of Eid in the town of Fanja, just 30 minutes from the capital city - Muscat.
The ceremony itself takes approximately 2 hours, starting around 4 pm. and ending around 6 pm or at sunset.
As you make your way through the village and its intricate streets uphill to the old fort, you will come across the men of Fanja, both old and young, chanting and parading with the Omani flag upfront throughout the main streets of Fanja.
In previous years, as these men echoed battle chants throughout the streets in lines of four, they would also shoot into the air. This used to be a typical part of their celebratory gunfire; but as of this year, the ROP (Royal Omani Police) issued a prohibition of the use of armed guns to shoot into the air. It is worth noting that during this celebration, all men are armed up to their teeth with swords, guns, rifles and their traditional Omani khanjars.
Once at the top and within the main square of the old fort, you will see the men of Fanja parade straight through the main square and exit on the opposite side right away.
Then there's a pause within the activities surrounding this event, women return to their conversations, or take care of their children; some older children play with their plastic swords while others sell and/or buy water, soft drinks and even toy guns other small trinkets.
Maybe ten minutes later, a voice announces that the cannon will be fired and everyone gets excited and returns to their strategic points to have a better view of the cannons.
... and so it starts ...
As the cannons have been fired, a few minutes later, the men of Fanja return to the main square chanting in groups rather than in their initial 4-lines formation as the sword-dance is about to begin.
Close to 6 p.m., those who came to presence this ceremony at the old fort of Fanja start to slowly but steadily leave the place.
... and then, the town of Fanja ... goes back to its normal routine.